To The Student Replacing Posters At IU, "Consent" Is Not A Buzzword

To The Student Replacing Posters At IU, "Consent" Is Not A Buzzword

And to the people who laughed at it.
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To the person who replaced Indiana University It's On Us' Sex and Consent posters with fake ones --

Maybe you were part of the 1-3 percent of perpetrators who are wrongly accused. Maybe you’re a man who was once assaulted and are angry with the very, very false stigma that men cannot be victims. Maybe you had a somewhat understandable reason.

Odds are you didn’t.

Even in a world where so many things are disagreed upon, I would hope sexual assault wouldn’t be something still up for public debate. Victims’ and survivors’ trauma is not your joke, nor is it political. I would think support for survivors and opposition towards rapists would be the one thing people from all backgrounds could agree upon.

Turns out, I thought wrong. Let’s break this down.

First of all, consent is not a “generic buzzword that we use to shove our own personal brand of feminism down your throat.” Consent is what separates a non-rapist from a rapist -- plain and simple. It is not something you "'loose' the moment that one chick from the party you had last night 'relizes' she has to explain to her boyfriend why she had sex with nearly five guys." Only about two percent of rape accusations are determined to be false – about the same amount as any other felony. On the flip-side, about 99% of accused rapists walk away free. This leaves a huge, inexcusable middle ground in which victims' rapists never see consequences for their actions, which leads to fewer reports.

Therefore, "your say in the whole thing" DOES matter because if it didn't, 99.4% of victims wouldn't have to live their lives knowing that their rapist is walking free while they suffer trauma that may last a lifetime.

Some say "attention whores" destroy careers. Apparently, the odds aren't in your favor for that, either, because a man who was recently attacked by the claims of at least THIRTEEN "attention whores" is now called President.

Consent is now a very promoted idea, especially on college campuses. I understand your frustration with the technicalities of it, but if you are a respectable person you should want to make sure your partner is enjoying themselves. Often an assaulted person does not resist or specifically say "no" because they are too intoxicated to make conscious decisions. They may also completely shut down as a coping mechanism, or are scared of what would happen if they resist.

Consent isn't really difficult or complicated. You should want to get consent anyways out of respect and some amount of care for the person you're with.

In regards to the closing statement, "Indiana University does not tolerate any differences in opinion. If you disagree with us, you are a dead mother fucker," I have one statement: it should be obvious to disagree with rape, and your comments on the matter reveal your character.

As a woman in college, I have long been cognizant of the existence of rape culture. I have heard the comments and seen the sneers. I have been grabbed and teased in a way that sounded more like a threat than a joke. I have felt shame for things that were not my fault. I have listened as others tell me their stories; some of my friends are victims and survivors. Rape culture is very real, and a very valid concern for all colleges and students.

The It's On Us campaign does wonderful things to protect college students across the country. I have been a member of our campus' It's On Us affiliated club since the very first week of my freshman year. I am proud of the progress we have made, and this event has been a sobering reminder of how far we still have left to go.

I have faith that we will persist, and despite these trials, we will prevail.

Cover Image Credit: Heather Willard

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Day In Immigration Court

"America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

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This past month, I started my summer internship with a local immigration attorney. Throughout the summer, I will be observing the day-to-day responsibilities of an immigration law office, which includes observing client appointments, compiling evidence and legal research for cases, and attending hearings at the federal immigration court in New York City. Immigration court is vastly different than anything I had ever experienced, and the harsh reality of the American immigration system manifests itself in the immigration courts themselves. Yet after only a couple of days witnessing various hearings in court, I want to look beyond the inefficiencies ingrained in our current immigration system and instead paint a picture so that you can understand the underlying effects of the American dream taking place.

There are two floors designated for the immigration courts in the federal building. After exiting the elevator, there is an overwhelming presence of individuals and family units awaiting their presence in court. One time I saw a woman holding a baby that was days old outside of the courtroom. Courtrooms are numbered and labeled with the last name of the immigration judge on the door, and individuals are expected to wait outside with either an attorney, accredited representation, or any other people accompanying the respondent before his or her trial.

Aside from the large conglomerate of immigrants on this floor, there are multiple signs taped to the walls contain directions in languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, etc. While on these floors, you cannot help but be surrounded by different people, languages, and cultures. In its essence, this is the presence of the American "melting pot" at its finest. There is something inherently beautiful about intersecting cultures and ways of life, and being in the presence of such different people can allow yourself to open your eyes to such different perspectives. Is that not what America is about?

The popular saying, "America is a nation founded by immigrants" could not be more true in this space.

Since my first time at immigration court, I have witnessed individuals win and individuals lose their case. However, a loss does not have to be the end for some individuals. There is an option to appeal the decision from the immigration judge to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) within thirty days. In cases where the individual receives legal status, it feels as though a large burden is placed off of the individual's shoulders. No longer do they have to struggle through the American immigration system after years of perseverance, and in some cases, individuals can move towards becoming an American citizen.

It is almost funny to think that my presence in a government building could spark an inspirational motivator. However, I think my experience in immigration court is more humbling than anything. It puts into perspective the lengths that individuals take to make their case in front of a judge. For them, America is worth fighting for. Although there are various inefficiencies within the current immigration system, I am not trying to romanticize the reality of immigration court. Most of the time, the lines are long, interpreters are unavailable, and cases are more difficult than ever to win. However, instead of focusing on these points, I think it is important to re-focus on the bigger picture behind the immigration courts, realizing the positives amidst all of the negatives.

Although this is only the beginning of my internship, I am excited to see where this opportunity will lead me. I am excited to hear the stories of others, which showcase their determination against hardship and persecution. And I am determined to not only witness but also initiate change first-hand, one case at a time.


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